“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live long as God himself. Never.” – Elie Wiesel, Night
These words by Elie Wiesel are testament to the monstrosity and barbarism of the Holocaust. Not everyone has the forbearance and resilience to withstand torture and starvation, witness the death of loved ones in the most horrific manner possible, and watch as little children are thrown in fire and gas chambers just because they belong to a particular community, and still maintain their sanity.
Elie Wiesel not only survived all of this with his sanity still intact, but also went ahead to become one of the most prolific writers of his generation, even winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian achievements and thought-provoking literary work.
Choosing love, forgiveness and peace over hatred, anger and retribution, Elie Wiesel remarkably showed the world the virtuous side of the human spirit, by becoming an international activist of peace in the world.
Of all the Holocaust survival stories, his is the most prominent because it did not end after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, but truly began afterwards. I don’t have enough words to summarize a life as eventful and extraordinary as his, so I’ll just say, that in times of hardship, desolation and despair, if there is one person who can give hope and helps me see the probability of a better tomorrow, it is and forever will be you, Elie Wiesel.
Shalom, you beautiful soul!
“It is the Committee’s opinion that Elie Wiesel has emerged as one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.Wiesel is a messenger to mankind. His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief. His message is based on his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler’s death camps. The message is in the form of a testimony, repeated and deepened through the works of a great author.Wiesel’s commitment, which originated in the sufferings of the Jewish people, has been widened to embrace all repressed peoples and races.” – Official Nobel Peace Prize Citation 1986